Abba Libanos

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Note: This article or section represents an Oriental Orthodox (Non-Chalcedonian) perspective, which may differ from an Eastern Orthodox (Chalcedonian) understanding.

Abba Libanos, also known as Abba Mete'a, was one of the Nine Saints credited in Ethiopia with enculturating and spreading the Orthodox Faith in the country following its official conversion by St. Frumentius of Axum. Abba Libanos is commemorated on 3 T'er (January 11).


It is said that the Nine Saints arrived in Axum, the first great capital city of Ethiopia, in 480. They came from various parts of the East Roman Empire, having fled the persecutions of the Orthodox who remained faithful to the teaching of St. Cyril of Alexandria after the Council at Chalcedon. Although it is written that Abba Libanos was a member of the ruling imperial family of the Roman Empire, Abba Libanos' name literally means 'Father Lebanon' and it is possible that he actually came to Ethiopia from Lebanon.

Abba Libanos is recorded to have preached primarily in the Mereb Melash, which today forms part of Eritrea. As a result he is sometimes called the 'Apostle of Eritrea.' Abba Libanos spoke out against the corruption of an earlier bishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and suffered exile as a result, but later returned to imperial favor during the reign of Emperor Gebre Mesqel.

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